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Nicomachean Ethics   


property qualification count as equal. Democracy is the least bad of
the deviations; for in its case the form of constitution is but a
slight deviation. These then are the changes to which constitutions
are most subject; for these are the smallest and easiest transitions.
One may find resemblances to the constitutions and, as it were,
patterns of them even in households. For the association of a father
with his sons bears the form of monarchy, since the father cares for
his children; and this is why Homer calls Zeus 'father'; it is the
ideal of monarchy to be paternal rule. But among the Persians the rule
of the father is tyrannical; they use their sons as slaves. Tyrannical
too is the rule of a master over slaves; for it is the advantage of
the master that is brought about in it. Now this seems to be a correct
form of government, but the Persian type is perverted; for the modes
of rule appropriate to different relations are diverse. The
association of man and wife seems to be aristocratic; for the man
rules in accordance with his worth, and in those matters in which a
man should rule, but the matters that befit a woman he hands over to
her. If the man rules in everything the relation passes over into
oligarchy; for in doing so he is not acting in accordance with their
respective worth, and not ruling in virtue of his superiority.
Sometimes, however, women rule, because they are heiresses; so their
rule is not in virtue of excellence but due to wealth and power, as in
oligarchies. The association of brothers is like timocracy; for they
are equal, except in so far as they differ in age; hence if they
differ much in age, the friendship is no longer of the fraternal type.
Democracy is found chiefly in masterless dwellings (for here every one
is on an equality), and in those in which the ruler is weak and every
one has licence to do as he pleases.
11
Each of the constitutions may be seen to involve friendship just in so
far as it involves justice. The friendship between a king and his
subjects depends on an excess of benefits conferred; for he confers
benefits on his subjects if being a good man he cares for them with a
view to their well-being, as a shepherd does for his sheep (whence
Homer called Agamemnon 'shepherd of the peoples'). Such too is the
friendship of a father, though this exceeds the other in the greatness
of the benefits conferred; for he is responsible for the existence of
his children, which is thought the greatest good, and for their
nurture and upbringing.
These things are ascribed to ancestors as well. Further, by nature a
father tends to rule over his sons, ancestors over descendants, a king
over his subjects. These friendships imply superiority of one party
over the other, which is why ancestors are honoured. The justice
therefore that exists between persons so related is not the same on
both sides but is in every case proportioned to merit; for that is
true of the friendship as well. The friendship of man and wife, again,
is the same that is found in an aristocracy; for it is in accordance
with virtue the better gets more of what is good, and each gets what
befits him; and so, too, with the justice in these relations. The
friendship of brothers is like that of comrades; for they are equal
and of like age, and such persons are for the most part like in their
feelings and their character. Like this, too, is the friendship
appropriate to timocratic government; for in such a constitution the
ideal is for the citizens to be equal and fair; therefore rule is
taken in turn, and on equal terms; and the friendship appropriate here
will correspond.
But in the deviation-forms, as justice hardly exists, so too does
friendship. It exists least in the worst form; in tyranny there is
little or no friendship. For where there is nothing common to ruler
and ruled, there is not friendship either, since there is not justice;
e.g. between craftsman and tool, soul and body, master and slave; the
latter in each case is benefited by that which uses it, but there is
no friendship nor justice towards lifeless things. But neither is
there friendship towards a horse or an ox, nor to a slave qua slave.

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